Bumping this thread because I have a huge problem with this story I'm writing. Here, have it in a quote:
Darkness engulfed me. I pushed off from the cold metal. My heavy suit suddenly felt like it was nothing as I moved away from the airlock. I grabbed one of the rails nearby and swung myself to it so that I didn't float off into space. I looked above me. I dipped down, pulled myself up on the rail and shot myself to the top of the ship, catching hold of another rail on the way. I could have just taken the ladder, but that gets boring after the fifth spacewalk.
I lifted myself over the rail and planted my boots firmly on the hull plating, then raised my arm in front of me to flip a switch on the wrist panel. The electromagnets on my feet hummed to life. I walked across the hull plating, step by magnetised step. Sweat formed on my brow. Losing heat is a bitch in space. I detached the automatic screwdriver from my belt as I reachedmy destination.
Simple maintenance. The chief engineer wouldn't normally have a job this menial. But I do it every month.
I surveyed the grey box in front of me. Sometimes, ship builders had no sense of aesthetics. They go and make the hull svelte and curved, then stick a square lump on the top. It wasn't very large, but it was noticeable. I loosened the top of it. Despite it being routine, this was a very important task. If the sensor array's mechanism was out of alignment by even one femtometre,or the primary X-ray antenna pointing in a third of a minute in the wrong direction, the ship could collide with an asteroid and no one would notice until we were all space dust. The screwdriver buzzed as I took out the last screw.
I pulled off the cover, and placed it on the hull next to me. I put the screws back in their holes, so that I couldn't lose them. I peered inside. It appeared to be in working order. I took out the alignment caliper, and tapped the side of my helmet to activate the communicator.
“Engineering, this is Lieutenant Dell. I'm about to begin sensor maintenance, please shut down the array. Send a system-wide alert about the temporary downtime.” My voice was a little scratchy. I hadn't drunk my morning coffee yet. “Roger, Lieutenant. Array going down in five.” was the reply. Sure enough, in five seconds the faint glow from the power conduits faded into nothingness. “Array is down, you can proceed with maintenance.”
I reached into the mechanism. The familiar blue laser emitted from the ends of the caliper as I flipped the on switch. As I measured the distance between the various gears, my mind wandered. A man could lose himself out here, in the dark.Silence reigned. Beautiful, unbroken silence. Sometimes, when my workload was light and I needed to escape everyday life, I come outhere with a book and a chair, and sat on the hull reading, using the helmet speakers to play soft jazz. One time, I even brought a Portable Environs-Dome out so I could drink a glass of wine and sit in my smoking jacket.
A wire sparked out at me. More work to do. Absolutely fantastic. I smiled. I withdrew my arm, and read the display on the caliper. The mechanism was aligned correctly. I placed it back on my belt, and drew a length of wire out of a pouch next to it. I unplugged the faulty one, and inserted the new one in its place. I marked the bad wire with a small cutting laser, and placedit in the pouch. I mentioned that the wiring up here was starting to decay at the last department meeting. It seems no one bothered to come out and try and fix it. Typical. If you want something done, do it yourself.
I honestly think I could get by with a much smaller department. I could take on quite a few of the responsibilities myself; I don't mind working, especially if it means I get to get away from the rest of the crew like this. In fact, I'd probably take on most of the spacewalks. They're just that much nicer than most other jobs I had on this ship. If I were anywhere else on the ship, I'd get approached with a proposal for making the engines slightly more efficient, or maybe a detailed breakdown of the energy savings of shutting the artificial gravity off for ten minutes every night. Don't get me wrong, I love those things. I'm just not that fond of people, I guess.
I detached the antenna calibrator from my toolbelt, and held it to the sensor grid on the side of the array unit. The usual blue field emitted from the end, collecting data from the placement of each antenna. Honestly, my life would be so much better if I didn't have as many people to talk to. I'd get things done sooner that way. People just get in between me and my work.
I have no idea as to what I should do after this point in the story. Anything I write just seems to fit terribly, and I end up dumping it. Any suggestions? C&C of the existing portion is cool too.
A couple of major points:
- This is a character piece. I don't want to include anyone else in this, and I want to keep the engineer in space, even though at this point he's almost done with his work. I could add in a flashback, or have someone talk to him over his communicator, but other than that, no other characters.
- No action like "OH HEY SOMEONE ELSE OUT HERE ON THE HULL I BETTER GO FIND HIM". I just want this to be about the engineer performing a routine maintenance and thinking to himself.
- I have to express how much he doesn't like people without going HEY I DON'T LIKE PEOPLE. This is pretty much the thing I'm stuck on. I'm not that good at expressing emotion and how people think in writing.
I'll let you get on with the vicious destruction of my work now.
Also, FYI: any formatting problems are probably because of the forum dicking it up. I'm generally pretty good about formatting.
Edited by HummingbirdJames, January 29 2011 - 01:53 PM.